MS urges Welsh government to stop cuts to bus services
Plaid Cymru member of the Senedd Sioned Williams has called for the Welsh Government to stop cuts to services and back an initiative encouraging more people to use buses.
Throughout September Bus Users UK are promoting their annual ‘Catch the Bus Month’, with Williams backing the campaign following concerns raised amongst her constituents in South West Wales about cuts to services.
The Welsh Government ended emergency funding at the end of the last school term, which had provided vital support for the bus network throughout the pandemic in Wales.
Although some funding has been made available through the Bus Transition Fund, higher costs and a lack of full passenger number recovery have meant that many services are no longer deemed viable.
It has been estimated that 10% of bus services were reduced or withdrawn over the summer, particularly affecting school services.
Fears have been raised by the Confederation of Passenger Transport that up to a quarter of bus routes could be lost if funding isn’t secured beyond April next year.
Sioned Williams said: “Every day, people in communities across Wales catch a bus. Buses are essential services that many people rely upon and that we all benefit from. Buses are good for our economy. They help people to get to education, employment, shops and leisure activities, contributing billions to the economy.”
Ms Williams continued: “Research from the University of Leeds found that improvements in bus connectivity is associated with decreases in social deprivation. Buses are good for our health. Aside from ensuring access for all to key public services like health and social care settings, buses promote physical activity and can also help to reduce loneliness and social isolation. Buses are good for our environment.”
She added: “A fully loaded double-decker bus can take 75 cars off the road, reducing congestion and emissions. In fact, if everyone across the UK switched just one car journey a month to a bus instead, there would be a billion fewer car journeys and a saving of 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
At this difficult time for buses and those affected by the cuts to services we’re seeing in Wales, I think we should all take the opportunity to support this important campaign, while we continue to debate funding levels for buses and the best way they can be delivered. Let’s all get on board and catch the bus.”
More information about Bus Users UK ‘Catch the Bus Month’ 2023 can be found at: https://bususers.org/catchthebusmonth/
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